Wednesday, February 2, 2011

City I Love by Lee Bennett Hopkins (LS 5663 Review)

Hopkins, Lee Bennett. 2009. City I Love. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers. ISBN: 9780810983274.

     Young readers will catch the travel bug after reading this light collection of short poems about cities. Although the poems do not rhyme, the words create an image to match the topic as in the poem “Kite” where the kite “flitters, twirls, tumbles, twitters”. The words do not rhyme but instead give a visual of the kite floating in the air. Another technique the author uses to create imagery in the poems is how the poem is set up. In the poem “Snow City”, the word down is written in falling text to symbolize the falling flake.

     Each poem about the city could apply to any city in the world, but what makes each poem unique is its illustration by Marcellus Hall. The pictures are drawn in an almost cartoonish way with vivid but not bring colors. The pictures take the words to different places around the world: San Francisco, Japan, France, London, Mexico, and New York City. Adding the different countries to the words takes the reader out of their own city and takes them around the world. What unifies the poems is the hound that is visiting each place with his backpack. Students will enjoy looking for him on each page.

     Beginning as early as kindergarten, students are taught the difference between cities, towns, suburbs, and rural areas. This book supplements this curriculum, especially the first poem “Sing a Song of Cities” which asks the reader to sing to the city to hear what the city will sing back. “They’ll sing in subway roars and rumbles, People-laughs, machine-loud grumbles”. Students can discuss what sounds they hear in the city and then compare it to what they may hear in a rural country area. This enhances the state standards of knowing the difference between the country and the city by adding what the different sounds and smells they may find in the city and country.

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